Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Fall 2015 Update on Reentry

The National H.I.R.E. Network is thrilled about President Obama’s announcement of several efforts to support successful reintegration and full participation of people with criminal records in society. The announcement highlighted new initiatives including:
  1. ‚ÄčAdult reentry education grants
  2. HUD’s issuance of guidance about the use of arrest information in leasing decisions
  3. An Executive Order to “ban the box” on federal employment applications
  4. New tech training opportunities for workers with criminal histories
  5. Creation of a “Clean Slate” clearinghouse of information and training on expungement and sealing of criminal records practices
  6. Increased permanent supportive housing programs
  7. Assistance for justice-involved young people who live in public housing to clean up their criminal records
The National H.I.R.E. Network has been promoting policies like these for years and advocating for several of these specific initiatives with the current Administration. Our recommendations for improving access to employment, education and housing are located here: National Blueprint for Reentry (2008); National Blueprint for Reentry 2nd ed. (2014); National Employment and Reentry Committee Recommendations (2014)H.I.R.E. applauds the Administration for continuing to adopt evidence-based strategies for improving public safety and restoring lost opportunities.
We have a long way to go and lots more to do. But, this announcement and others that have been released in the past six months show the White House has made a significant commitment to addressing the harms the country’s mass criminalization policies have had on communities and families. We see the beginning steps to ending mass incarceration. Now, we have to ensure that people truly have a second chance at succeeding. Only then will we finally close the revolving door to prison.
These victories have opened doors to employment, housing, higher education‚Äč, and more equal opportunities for millions. Over the next three years, the National H.I.R.E. Network will be working to ensure these initiatives provide the maximum benefit for the people and communities they are designed to help and pushing public and private sector leaders to go further. We will:
  • Continue to work with employers to modify and strengthen their hiring policies so that job applicants with criminal records can fairly compete for employment;
  • Encourage states to eliminate barriers to employment and occupational licensing;
  • Increase protections against discrimination based on criminal history;
  • Increase access to private rental housing market and eliminate criminal record-based discrimination; and
  • Increase access to higher education with the elimination of the Pell Grant drug felony ban and other barriers to college attainment.
We hope you will continue to join us in pursuing more opportunities and making it easier for people who are committed to changing their lives has the chance to succeed.